Thursday, March 28, 2013

Go Nuts, it's your birthday!

My brother-in-laws birthday was this past Monday and we are celebrating over the weekend. I don't have a ton of cash to spend on a gift for him, but when my sister-in-law told me that he likes peanuts & peanut m&m's, I knew just what to do! I layered them in 1/2 cup increments in a mason jar, made up a label and viola! Happy Birthday J!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Pie

We celebrated my stepmom's birthday today and I decided that since I had most of the ingredients on hand and she LOVES reese's that I should make her a birthday pie! I found this recipe and decided it simply didn't have enough reese's in it ;) so I added a few more!

  • 1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust. (1/3 cup melted butter, 3 tbsp. sugar, 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 8oz block of cream cheese 
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 12 oz. tub of cool whip topping
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
  • 3 Tbs of milk
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 9 reese's cups

  1. Mix the softened cream cheese, 1 cup of Peanut Butter and the sugar. You can use a mixer, but was able to easily blend it by hand. 
  2. Next Gently fold in the whole tub of cool whip and 4 crushed reese's cups.
  3. Fill the pie crust with all your peanut butter filling.
  4. Now melt your 1 cup of chocolate chips with 3 tablespoons of milk in the microwave. I put it in for 4 15second intervals and took it out then stirred really well until the chocolate was completely melted and smooth.
  5. Carefully coat the top of your peanut butter filling with the melted chocolate. 
  6. Coat the entire pie up to the pie crust in one even layer.Before the chocolate topping starts to set, sprinkle 4 chopped peanut butter cup pieces over the pie and gently press it into the chocolate sauce. Refrigerate pie for 4-8 hours before serving.

No Knead Whole Wheat Bread

I've been baking my own bread for a while now so I thought it was about time for me to share my recipe. I started with this recipe from vegan baking and changed it up a little with a few mixins. I needed a recipe that was easy and did not have honey as my one year old son would be eating it as well.

  • 2 cups warm water 
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup 
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast 
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour 
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt 
  • 2 tbsp. wheat germ 
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds 
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seed 
  • 2 tbsp. ground oatmeal

1)In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, agave syrup and yeast. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the yeast activates.

2)In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, wheat germ, flax, oatmeal, sunflower seeds and salt.

3)Add the wet ingredients to the bowl containing the dry ingredients and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon in a circular motion for 1 minute. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours. Alternatively, place this in the refrigerator for about 12 to 24 hours. Remember that we want our dough to double in size regardless of whether it spends a full 24 hours in the refrigerator or rises at room temperature. Feel free to let it rise in the refrigerator for some of the time and outside of the refrigerator the rest of the time.

4)Vigorously mix the dough again with the wooden spoon for 30 seconds and allow it to rise once more, covered, at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.

5)Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). Stir the dough one last time for 30 seconds to degass it. The dough can now be 'proofed' by gently forming it into a lightly oiled loaf pan and allowed to sit covered with a plastic bag until it reaches about 80% to 90% of it's intended size, which should be about 40 minutes. The proofing stage is where the dough takes most of it's shape. It's important to leave room under the plastic bag so the dough can rise sufficiently.

6) Remove the plastic bag so the dough can rest for about 10 minutes. Due to the high water content in the dough it may begin to spill over the sides of the loaf pan. In this case, take the edges of the dough and stretch it over the loaf to the other side, working your way around the perimeter of the loaf pan as you go. Stretching the dough over itself will also help keep the loaf in its proper shape as it bakes. Lightly dust the top of the loaf with wheat germ, wheat bran or oat bran.

During baking, the dough will rise another 10% to 20% of it's intended size in the process known as oven spring. Bake until the internal temperature of the bread registers 180-190F (82-88C) when read by an instant-read thermometer. This should be about 45 minutes. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees in the oven halfway through the baking duration for even baking.

7)Remove the bread from the loaf pan after about 30 minutes and allow to cool on a wire rack until it's cooled to room temperature. This bread is best stored covered in a cool dark place or pre-sliced and stored in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer. Makes one loaf of No Knead Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.

**Please note that I did not have the right size loaf pan so I made two smaller loafs.

Primary Color Birthday Party

Again, I blog, not a food post. But I had so much fun planning Josh's first birthday I just had to share some of the things I did to make it so amazing!

Seeing as this is a food blog, let's start there :) I made a tri-layer sandwich stand from three $1 trays from the dollar store and a $1 pack of two champagne glasses that my husband cut the stems off of. I painted it with spray paint and hot glued it together. We served almond-butter and blackberry simply fruit sandwiches, peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches and ham and swiss roll-ups. We also served layered watermelon, pineapples, and black grapes and celery sticks, carrot sticks and grape tomatoes with ranch dressing. We had water bottles and lemonade to drink. I also made cake pops (chocolate homemade cake with buttercream frosting) dipped in primary colored candy melts. The cake pop stand was 3 2x4's that my husband drilled holes into. The cake was a 3 layered primary colored cake with whipped cream cheese frosting. Josh's cake was actually a sugar free cookie recipe with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, raisins and applesauce with the same whipped cream cheese frosting!

 For games and activities we had knock em down (I emptied tomato sauce cans, cleaned them out, glued the tops back on and spray painted them, then added a piece of ribbon around the top and bottom for something extra), Ball Toss ($1 bins and $1 balls from the dollar store) and bowling (1.5 liter soda bottles emptied and spray painted them and added cardstock for something extra). The balls were all from the dollar store. We also had a photo booth set up. I printed out and traced some printables online (simply do a search for photo booth props) and cut them out in primary colored cardstock. Then I glued them onto dowels. The background was made from 3 1/2 tablecloths that I cut into third and stapled around a piece of quarter round we had in the garage. It could be raised for adult pictures and lowered for kid's pictures.
We had planned on having the party outside but it decided to rain the day of so we moved our couch into the garage and set everything up inside instead. I also made 3 banners (Cakes & Gifts, Food & Drinks and Happy 1st Birthday) out of cardstock and ribbon.

All together it was an amazing time and I hope some of my ideas help you plan an incredible party of your own!